GREENPEACE MEDIA RELEASE
We love Japan but not pseudo
Suva, Fiji - December 14, 2007: Japan’s recent stonewalling tactics at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting (1) in Guam, the continuous sabotaging of the climate change discussions in Bali and now relentless commercial whaling shows that the Japanese Government is not friends of the Pacific said Greenpeace.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Team Leader Nilesh Goundar said Japan’s stance at the Tuna Commission meeting last week together with other distant water fishing nations resulted in the failure of the adoption of concrete measures to conserve key Pacific tuna stocks, the Pacific’s most cherished resource.
“Now they continue to sabotage the Climate Change discussions in Bali by supporting US, Canada and Australia in weakening the text on technology transfer as one of the key pillars of the climate change regime under the Kyoto Protocol. In addition Japan has expanded its whaling program despite the fact that some Forum Island countries depend on whale-watching as an economic driver,” he said.
Japanese whalers are determined to kill more than a thousand whales this summer including 50 endangered fin whales, and for the first time in 40 years, 50 threatened humpbacks that spend much of their growing years in Pacific waters.
Greenpeace now calls on Forum Island Country Governments to act on whale protection including supporting non-lethal scientific research.
“It is not necessary to kill whales for science, especially humpback whales from vulnerable Pacific populations which have not recovered from intense industrial whaling last century.” said Mr Goundar. “ Greenpeace is showing this in our collaboration with marine scientists on “The Great Whale Trail” project. Nineteen Pacific humpback whales have been tagged and all their genetic and identifying data entered into a database.” (3)
Mr Goundar said Pacific Island Governments can also protect whales by signing an MOU negotiated under the auspices of the SPREP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). This convention includes plans to protect and conserve Pacific cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and their habitats, including their migratory corridors.
As a first step to protect the whales, Greenpeace urges Forum Island Country governments party to CITES to make a formal protest about Japan’s killing of humpbacks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3) “The Japanese government is breaching this international treaty on trade in endangered species with their plans to import humpback whale meat into Japan,” said Mr Goundar.
“There needs to be support for an international protest to the CITES Secretariat about Japan's breach of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.”
The CITES Secretariat has the power to pressure Japan to not kill any humpbacks through issuing a written caution to Japan; sending public notification through the Secretariat to all Parties of the issue; notifying Japan that it is in non-compliance and request a compliance action plan, and finally recommend a suspension of trade with Japan in CITES listed species
Mr Goundar said regional solidarity on tuna fisheries by Pacific leaders shows that the Pacific retains unity on our oceanic ecosystem and this is equally important for whales, which play a critical role in the maintenance of the natural balance of our oceanic ecosystem.
“The Pacific Ocean is not what divides Pacific Islanders but instead unites us. However on the whaling issue we appeal to the greater Pacific family to stand together as we are only as strong as our weakest link.” (4)